By Stephen Lendman
16 September 2010
At least since the Oslo accords, the Palestinian faction Fatah has served Israel more than its own people.
On 25 August the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz highlighted the latest example. It quoted a Palestinian Authority (PA) source as saying that dozens of members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, including senior officials, had been arrested.
On 6 September, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said hundreds of arrests had been made in response to the killings of four West Bank settlers, adding, “The decision to carry out the attack was politically motivated and intended to embarrass the Palestinian Authority.”
True or not, those affected included teachers, traders, workers, students, professionals and imams – unrelated to the incident. What is clear, however, is that Fatah’s Preventive Security Service and General Intelligence Service are doing Israel’s dirty work, while President Mahmoud Abbas collaborates during the latest sham peace talks.
Hamas responded harshly, urging supporters to resist arrest by confronting PA police with force and accusing Abbas of betraying his own people by “collaborating with the occupation”. Its sources also said that 750 West Bank Hamas members and leaders had been arrested, with many tortured and prevented from seeing their families.
On 9 September, relatives of detainees issued a joint statement saying that Israeli intelligence officers were participating in interrogations – senior officers from Maskobeh, Askalan, Petah Tikwa and Jalama detention centres – and supervising investigations at Al-Khalil, Nablus and Ramallah jails.
The statement also cited torture, saying 32 detainees had been admitted to hospital since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan because of mistreatment. Further, it said Fatah had arrested 920 Palestinians since 11 August, most of them since the four killings, for which Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades had claimed full responsibility, arguing that the killings were a “normal and legal response to Zionist aggressions on the Palestinian civilians [and] part of the repelling operations against the occupation assaults on the Gaza Strip and West Bank”.
“America and Israel were delighted with his [Mahmoud Abbbas’s] elevation, a man seen as ‘colourless, moderately corrupt and without any clear ideas of his own, except that he wants to please the white man’, his masters in Washington and Tel Aviv.”
On 9 September, the Israeli news website Ynet ran a story headlined “Hamas: Fatah protecting enemy,” saying: “Hamas threatened the Palestinian Authority after members of the organization were arrested in relation to terror attacks that killed four and injured two in the West Bank.”
Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, accused Fatah of “treason”, saying: “This criminal campaign has crossed all red lines and constitutes direct cooperation with the enemy, in the clear light of day.” The arrests “prove once again the dangerous position of the ‘Fatah authority’ as a security agent protecting the enemy, exterminating the resistance and destroying the Palestinian aim.”
The Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq called Fatah’s crackdown “sweeping and arbitrary”, saying “arrests of political opponents demonstrate that these measures are fuelled by political expediency as opposed to genuine security concerns. In fact, this campaign is part of a pattern of oppressive policies adopted by the Palestinian Authority to stifle political dissent and to generate a sense of intimidation within Palestinian society.”
On 25 August, PA General Intelligence suppressed a Ramallah protest against upcoming US-brokered peace talks. According to Khaleda Jarrar, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ramallah mayoral candidate, PA operatives in civilian dress “attempted to thwart the event from the start, chanting slogans and leading event participants towards the centre” of the city. “We aimed to voice our dissent, and the PA decided to enter the conference hall and drag participants out to an unplanned rally.”
Serving Israel, not Palestinians, Fatah suppresses dissent, violently or by edict. Al-Haq called the 25 August incident “a further example of the increasing climate of violence and intimidation that is effectively transforming Palestinian society into a police state”.
Affiliated with American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) is an extremist pro-Israeli front group, co-founded by Dennis Ross, now “Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the Gulf and Southwest Asia”. WINEP’s Board of Advisors includes Henry Kissinger, Richard Perle, James Woolsey, George Shultz and other notorious Israel-firsters like Ross.
On 25 August, its distinguished fellow David Makovsky noted “a surge in cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority ever since Hamas ousted security officials and the mainstream Fatah Party from Gaza more than three years ago”.
Never mind Hamas’s democratic election as Palestine’s legitimate government. In June 2007, however, working cooperatively with Israel and Washington, Abbas dissolved the unity government, instigated full blown confrontations when Israel imposed its siege.
After spending five weeks in the region meeting with dozens of Israeli and PA officials, including Abbas, Makovsky noted that joint cooperation “substantially improved”, saying “the PA no longer attempts to hide its daily security cooperation with Israel”, including “weed[ing] out schoolteachers [and others] who support Hamas radicalism”. In other words, anyone voicing dissent.
Mahmoud Abbas – a treacherous illegitimate leader
In a 31 August article, Jeffrey Blankfort called Abbas a “double agent”, saying he serves “his Israeli and US masters in plain sight”, at least since Oslo when as chief Palestinian negotiator he “played Neville Chamberlain for Tel Aviv, agreeing to surrender occupied Palestinian land” and end legitimate resistance. As “emergency” PA leader (20 months after his term expired), he’s now “Israel’s sheriff”, suppressing peaceful demonstrations, arresting Hamas members and supporters, serving Israel, not his own people, an illegitimate quisling head of state.
On 19 June 2003, in the London Review of Books, Edward Said discussed Abbas in an article entitled “A Road Map to Where?”, saying that he first met him in March 1977 at a Cairo National Council meeting where he gave “by far the longest speech”. In retrospect, it launched secret PLO-Israeli meetings “that made Oslo possible”.
During the Palestine Liberation Organization’s 1971-82 Beirut years, Abbas was in Damascus, later joining Arafat in Tunis, exiled for the next decade. According to Said, after the 1991 Madrid conference, Abbas, PLO officials and independent European intellectuals formed teams “to prepare negotiating files on subjects such as water, refugees, demography and boundaries in advance of what were to become the secret Oslo meetings, although to the best of my knowledge, none of the files was used, none of the Palestinian experts was directly involved in the talks, and none of the results of this research influenced the final documents that emerged”.
Said continues: “In Oslo, the Israelis fielded an array of experts supported by maps, documents, statistics and at least 17 prior drafts of what the Palestinians would end by signing, while the Palestinians unfortunately restricted their negotiators to three PLO men, not one of whom knew English or had a background in international (or any other kind of) law.” The outcome was predictable: a one-sided agreement for Israel, with Palestinians getting nothing besides anointment as “Israel’s sheriff”.
In his 1995 memoir, Through Secret Channels: The Road to Oslo, Abbas took credit as Oslo’s “architect”, though he never left Tunis. In fact, “Arafat was pulling all the strings,” arranging his own capitulation. “No wonder then that the Oslo negotiations made the overall situation of the Palestinians a good deal worse.”
Thereafter, Abbas became known for his “flexibility” toward Israel, “his subservience to Arafat and his lack of an organized political base (until made prime minister in 2003, then president in 2005), although he is one of Fatah’s founders and a longstanding member and secretary-general of its Central Committee”.
America and Israel were delighted with his elevation, a man seen as “colourless, moderately corrupt and without any clear ideas of his own, except that he wants to please the white man”, his masters in Washington and Tel Aviv. As a result, his “authenticity is what seems so lacking in the path cut out for” him, a stooge made president in a managed 2005 election.
Israel controlled the process, elevating him by imprisoning leading opposition candidate Marwan Barghouti on bogus murder charges, and obstructing Mustafa Barghouti for “demand[ing] total and complete reform, [ending all] form[s] of corruption, [and] mismanagement, and [working to] consolidate the rule of law”.
As a result, Israeli forces arrested Mustafa Barghouti during the campaign, then expelled him from East Jerusalem to prevent his planned campaign speech. He was also excluded from Nablus and Gaza, harassed and intimidated in a process rigged for Abbas and boycotted by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In a field of seven candidates, Barghouti finished second, far behind Abbas.
Abbas hasn’t disappointed. He gets White House photo-op rewards, and his son, a millionaire businessman, admits to “collaborat[ing] with Israel”. His father does it tacitly against his own people.
Stephen Lendman hosts “The Progressive Radio News Hour” on The Progressive Radio Network. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at here.